Recently, I was supposed to be in Dallas for a Wanderlust Festival (a 5k + yoga + meditation session all back-to-back) to join my friend but I ended up not being able to make it and stayed home the entire weekend. At first, my wanderlusting spirit didn’t like this change in plans, but then I thought about it and decided to make this an interesting weekend by challenging myself to NOT spend a single dollar all weekend. It was just the challenge and weekend I needed. 🙂
So here’s my list of 7 activities you can do that are totally free and good for your mental and physical health:
- Knock out your never-ending to-do list.
Everyone keeps a mental to-do list in their heads that’s always filled with a million things to do, but if you actually stop and write down your list you’ll see that you don’t have as many items as you think you do. In my case I only had 7. Seeing my to-do list before my eyes made me to want to tackle and accomplish them, and some of those things I did included:
– Canceling my membership to a travel club that I found too “touristy”
– Closing my savings account at a bank that no longer had a branch near me
– Canceling my dental insurance on the Health Care Exchange since I acquired coverage through my employer, something I should’ve done a long time ago
- Stick your nose in front of a book, not Netflix. Okay, I’ll admit, I did watch a teeeeensy bit of Netflix during my hermit weekend but I spent the majority of my time reading and finishing three books that I felt guilty for not finishing in the past:
– So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
– Soulful Simplicity by Courtney Carver
– The Largesse of the Sea Maiden by Denis Johnson
Not only did it feel great to finish these wonderfully written books but I gave them to my friends as gift afterwards and that felt even better!
- Get rid of stuff you DON’T need. In Soulful Simplicity, Courtney Carver detailed her journey of getting rid of all her material things and exchanging them for a lifestyle where she dedicated all her time and energy to her loved ones. Now I consider myself to be something of a minimalist (I got rid of 85% of my stuff when I moved from a condo to a single bedroom in shared house), but this book encouraged me to continue to get rid of more stuff that I don’t need or use. I’ll tell ya, going to Goodwill and coming home to an emptier bedroom felt liberating, something I hadn’t expected, and I became addicted and wanted to get rid of more stuff!
- Become a chef and rule zhe kitch’on. So I bought all of my groceries prior to the weekend, thus I was able to cook my own meals and brew my own coffee which resulted in: 1.) great freshness, 2.) me saving time and money from going out, and 3.) peace/calmness from preparing and cooking my meals. What I should’ve done was tried out a new recipe but I learned from my mistakes. Now if I had the ability to make my own wine then that would’ve been a solid weekend…
- Exercise, baby, exercise! I debated about going for a run over the weekend since a strong, cold front had moved in, but chance would have it that I tuned into NPR and caught the back end of a story about a young man living in Africa who was caught up in a regime change and was imprisoned based on his race or religious affiliation. This man REALLY loved running and would run circles inside his cell which is how he was able to escape, but this story motivated me to run! It was one of the best runs ever and I followed up the next day by doing yoga from a DVD I own. Point being: exercise is free and you can find always find motivation to do it.
- Spend more time with people who matter. I totally messed this one up because I was afraid that if I went out I would spend money so I refrained from meeting up with my friends. Sigh. What I should’ve done was tell my friends about my goal for the weekend and I guarantee you that any of one of them would’ve spotted me a cup of coffee or something. I had this realization weeks later when my buddy returned from working a job in Japan. We went out for coffee to catch up and he left his debit card in the car and I told him his Cappuccino was on me – I actually wanted to pay for it because I valued our time together. So please don’t make the same mistake I did.
- Lastly, do what you love. I love to write and I did a lot of it over the weekend. You love to do something, too, but you probably don’t give yourself enough time to do it. Well you can if you get rid of all your distractions (Netflix). It really is that simple.
This was surprisingly one of the best and most relaxing weekends I’ve ever had! I highly recommend you give it a try because in our fast-paced society and highly technological society, rarely do we take the time to stop and listen to what we want most: a simple and meaningful lifestyle. 🙂
(Stock image by Leah Kelley @leahkelleyphotography.)